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Branding (Part 1 of 3)

By Adam Mefford

(this would be the first of three installments on the function of branding, brand design, and execution)

The term ‘brand’ is often misused in my view. As an entrepreneur and designer, I’d like to share that a brand is not the visual impressions of a company.

A brand reflects the clarity of the intent of the organization in total. When someone really understands something, they are able to share it succinctly, without a lot of pretense. This is the nucleus of strong branding.

Think of the difference between Japanese cuisine and Chinese cuisine – one relies on the purity of the ingredients, the other adds colors and sauces.

If your goal is to enjoy the benefits of a clear voice for your company, get your base ingredients in order before you begin to cook, so to speak. Understand your mission, your audience and the level of play relative to your competitors, and then prioritize your message around the change you intend to bring to the market.

A well-designed brand serves the intent of the business by translating these few key messages across the range of impressions made as the business functions. But without connecting these key messages to the strategy and intent of the business, the best design in the world won’t be able to build positive inertia in the minds of your audience.

Don’t rely on design to make-pretty an unintelligible strategy. Get your goals down and next month I’ll share how to get what you pay for in the area of brand design for young companies.

Adam Mefford is an alumni of Art Center College, where he founded MINT, a community focused on creative entrepreneurship.

E-mail him at Adam Mefford

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